I am thankful. We should all be. Fact is I’m probably not thankful enough for the small things that make this life worth living. But in the context of this post, I suppose I am probably most thankful to the British weather. Our summers are patchy affairs with, generally speaking, a day or two of banner headlines like ‘cor what a sizzler’ mixed in with ‘July flood misery’. So, over the years of my childhood, I spent many an August day staring out at grey skies, watching stair rod rain bounce of the shed roof. That was when I learned to lose myself in a book. Those wet summer days, the cause of misery for many, were, to me, an invitation to cleave a path through the overcoats in the wardrobe and find a lamp post, or slip back in time with a Portkey.
Yes, we all know what Portkeys are now, but I discovered one pre JKR, many years ago. In a book called The Gauntlet, by Ronald Welch.
When Peter finds the gauntlet on a Welsh hillside, he becomes the latest link in an old legend. Suddenly transported back to the fourteenth century, to a world of castles, feasts, jousts, and battles, he is accepted by everyone as the eldest son of Sir Roger de Blois. Peter learns how to live as the son of a Norman lord, how to hawk, and fight, and shoot a longbow, and, finally he has to escape alone from their besieged castle to bring help. But one day he will have to return to his own time …
This is the one that did it for me. I was 10. I was Peter. I lived his adventure. And best of all, the whole thing was set in the very landscape I could see outside my window. I connected with that book. I devoured it.
Now that I’m grown up, I’m still grateful for the rain. Can’t garden or paint a fence in the rain. All you can do is sit down and begin another adventure. The difference is that this time, I’m in the driving seat.
Know what? It’s still a rush.